Sitting is the new smoking
Yes that’s right, sitting is the new smoking and on average we humans are now doing it for 9 hours or more every day. In the morning behind the steering wheel or on the train, slumped at the desk all day, the commute back home and then crashed out in front of the TV. This will sound all too familiar for some. Unfortunately physical inactivity has become normal and this has seen physical activity levels reduced by 20% in the last 2 decades.
Unfortunately physical inactivity has become normal and this has seen physical activity levels reduced by 20% in the last 2 decades.
So what is happening when we sit and why is it the new smoking?
Over production of insulin – Cells that aren’t moving do not respond well to the effects of insulin so your body makes more. This can lead to diabetes in the long run. A study in 2011 showed changes in insulin sensitivity after just one day of prolonged sitting.
Poor circulation – Sitting reduces your blood flow putting you at risk of DVT.
Immediately after sitting down you stop burning energy, reducing your calorie use to 1cal per min. This is 1/3 of what it would be if you were active and moving around.
After 2 Weeks of Sitting for 6 Hours + a day your muscles stop utilising fat and your blood sugar levels increase = RISK of weight gain/diabetes.
After 2 weeks your muscle mass starts to reduce and your oxygen consumption drops contributing to reduced energy levels. Again this shows just how important it is to maintain an active lifestyle.
After 2 Weeks of Sitting for 6 Hours + a day your muscles stop utilising fat and your blood sugar levels increase
After 1 year of sitting for 6 hours + a day it has been proven that a loss of 1% bone mass is evident after just 1 year of sitting for 6 hours + a day.
This is why training with weights is important. It improves bone density and prevents the onset of osteoporosis.
Long term, the symptoms above will subtly develop making it much harder for the issues to be reversed. Potentially there could even be a bigger problem on the horizon which could effect someone for the rest of their life.
Unfortunately, stats don’t lie – In the lead-up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, a special edition of The Lancet published a series of papers based on national statistics from around the world. Results showed that 40% of individuals with cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer failed to achieve the minimum recommendations for health of 150 min/week of moderate-intensity physical activity.
So how can you make yourself move more?
Use the Tomato Timer
Run the timer on your browser and when it buzzes take a micro break. Get up for a little walk, you could even get some fresh water. Even if you just stand up and work at your desk for a few minutes. It will keep you moving and it’s great for productivity too. Research suggests 25 minutes is where the maximum length of time for sitting meets peak levels of concentration.
Sit/stand or treadmill desks
There is now a wide variety of options available in this area compared to a few years ago which means all budgets are catered for.
Use a pedometer
Whether it is a wearable of an ‘old school’ clip on the hip you could set yourself a moderate step challenge for each day. 1000 – 3000 steps a day would put someone in the sedentary bracket so an ideal starting point would be the upper end of this range (3000 steps a day). It may not seem like a lot but through experience a desk bound day and a couple of trips to the kettle could only see you rack up around 500.
It’s time to get up and get moving!
About Elite Corporate Performance
We understand the barriers that the working population have to deal with to maintain an acceptable level of health. These barriers are more prominent than ever and there is now wide ranging research which demonstrates a clear link between corporate working environments and sedentary lifestyles.
To help overcome these barriers we engage businesses and their employees in education and exercise to stop consistently declining levels of health.